By Julia Dzurillay
Since 2008, the lyrics to All Time Low’s “Dear Maria, Count Me In” could be heard blasting from house parties and old, beat-up cars across the nation. Teens everywhere became drawn to this messy and raw pop punk band from Towson, Md., as people they could relate to and be inspired by.
As the band grew in popularity, so did the recognition of the sound it branded. As the band matured, however, so did the lyrics and the music’s aura. The band’s fan base was stunned when All Time Low dropped its newest single, “Dirty Laundry,” and new image in mid-February.
This single was released in anticipation of All Time Low’s impending tour, which begins on Friday, March 10, and the release of the newest album, “Last Young Renegade,” on June 2. With more than six albums dating back to 2005, this one is expected to be a departure from the band’s pop punk/pop rock sound. The biggest indication of that is “Dirty Laundry,” which is influenced by today’s electronic music scene as well as the nostalgic tone infused into the band’s sound.
All Time Low has been working since 2003 to shape its own image. Inspired by artists like blink-182, a ragtag group of high school students formed a pop punk cover band. Several years and a few record labels later, All Time Low was playing for thousands of screaming, moshing fans across the globe.
After being signed to Fueled By Ramen, the same label as Fall Out Boy, Panic! At The Disco and Paramore, All Time Low solidified its legacy in the hypothetical Pop Rock Hall of Fame. That could be a reason for the recent departure from the band’s usual aesthetic.
“Dirty Laundry” addresses this in the lyrics, which touches on the theme of the unattainability of perfection. Most prominently, the song is about growing up and evolving.
“(The previous album called) ‘Future Hearts’ was written from a perspective of us talking about our youth, and all the things that got us to where we were then,” frontman Alex Gaskarth said in an interview with altpress.com. “So, it was written from the perspective of if we were a lot younger and all these stories about wanting to grow up and get out of Baltimore and chase after our dreams. With (‘Dirty Laundry’), we’re writing it from the other perspective.”
The “dirty laundry” mentioned in the song is an overarching metaphor for the hardships, failures and secrets we carry throughout our lives. As the song progresses, the dirty laundry becomes less of a burden and more of a badge of courage. These mistakes are something we identify with, but do not define ourselves by. As a band trying to create a new image, this song becomes almost cathartic for the band and it’s fanbase.
As a longtime fan, it’s hard to see a change in the performers that I’ve come to know so well —“Don’t Panic” and “Nothing Personal” will always hold a special place in my heart. Just like any band, the members of All Time Low have matured. They’ve grown as people and should have the freedom to grow as artists, too.